by: Darren Baker [ ]
The Junkers Ju 88 was built in response to the need for a medium bomber that could outpace the fighter aircraft it was likely to come up against. When it entered service it was a fast medium bomber, but of course fighter aircraft had also become faster. From what I have read about the Ju 88, it saw service with the Luftwaffe throughout the Second World War. Taking part in combat in every theatre of war the German forces were active in, and that is without saying just about every possible aircraft role.
ICM have now released the second of the Ju 88 models in 1/48th scale the A-4 Version of the aircraft. With the Ju 88 having been used in so many variants in the Ju 88 line, this could end up being a very good model aircraft offering for ICM and a draw for the aircraft modeller.
The model is packaged inside a substantial cardboard tray with a flip top lid, and that has a card lid with all of the artwork and model information. ICM are one of the few companies where I feel I can reasonably post one of their products without further protection. Inside the box is a single re-sealable plastic bag containing the sprues; this is not ideal due to possible damage, but at least the clear sprue is packaged inside another bag before being packed with the rest of the model. The contents break down as follows;
8 grey sprues
1 clear sprue
A decal sheet
An instruction booklet
I started this review by taking a good look at the sprues and parts that go into making it. I am sure you will not exactly be surprised when I tell you that all of the sprues from the previous release are in this release, but there are two new sprues in the mix for good measure. Due to this there are a number of spares in the box which will likely please the modeller and annoy the wife in equal measure. The mouldings are very good from what I can see having no flash present and ejector pin marks that are hidden away. I can see a number of flow lines and moulding marks present on the parts, but it is my belief that none of these have marred the finish of the model. I read through the review written by Rowan Baylis on the Ju 88A-5 due to the number of shared parts, I noted that Rowan located some sink marks, but unless my eyes are worse than I thought they do not appear to have been duplicated in this offering. I will supply a link to that review as Rowan is more technically minded than I.
The cockpit of the aircraft is the same as in the previous release, and I have to say I am rather pleased with what I see offered. The control panels are nicely replicated and would appear to be basically correct. The pilotís instrument panel has been provided with decals by ICM, but if these do not please you I am sure Eduard or someone else will release an internal set for the model. A lot of attention has been lavished on the seats for the cockpit area, especially the support structures. The pilotís seat has been moulded in two halves and this means there is a joint that needs to be hidden or filled. The only real downside here that I can see is that no effort has been made to represent the crewís harnesses; this is something I have become more picky about as I have progressed. Other than this I am very happy with this area of the model.
It may seem a little odd, but I am going to jump to the undercarriage now. The rear wheel has been moulded as a single piece, it is well detailed from what I can ascertain, but it is something I do not like to see from a painting aspect. The front wheel units cheer me up quite a bit as I really like the detail moulded in to the area of the model. The main struts look very good detail wise and the minor seams lines to deal with should be easy due to the breakdown of parts. The torsion links are supplied separately and so aid the clean up process. Just about everything other than the strut is supplied separately resulting in a very nice looking main undercarriage assembly. I especially like that these are assembled off of the model and added after assembly into what I believe will be a rigid structure. The tyres are well detailed, but they are not weighted which lets them down; I am sure that resin weighted wheels are or will be available soon for this model. The wheel bay doors have not been forgotten and are again very well detailed inside and out. The only thing the modeller really needs to add are the brake lines which are not moulded, but that is not exactly unusual.
The fuselage of the model has been tackled very well in order to make it reasonably easy for ICM to provide various versions of the Ju 88, but this has not been done in such a way as to make life difficult for the modeller. The radio direction finder has been included among the new parts. The panel lines are very nicely recessed and fine, a check of drawings indicates that most of the panel lines appear to be present and correct. The large mouldings have an almost very lightly textured finish that I find appealing, but the parts are smooth; it is a hard sensation to explain. While covering the fuselage it is I believe a good time to look at the clear parts for the model. The clarity of the clear parts is very good and it would be worth looking for paint masks for this one, there are so many framed panels that you will need a very steady hand to avoid marring the finish. The thickness of the clear parts is fair, but there is a small amount of magnification takes place. The defensive machine guns are reasonable detail wise and will look the part, but I would consider the metal barrel option as I think this model is worth the expense.
The vertical tail and rudder are new parts having the cut out in the top of the tail present, I do believe this is correct in most cases except for some very early Ju 88A-4ís. Panel lines throughout the flight surfaces are well represented and should look good when picked out. The rest of the flight surfaces are very well done and have the finish I spoke of present. All of the flight control surfaces are supplied separately, and while not workable they do allow the modeller to decide the position they are set in.
The nacelles for this release are new parts as the Ju 88A-4 was powered by a different engine. There has been some distortion of these parts, most likely due to the way they were packed, but due to the way everything goes together this issue should easily correct itself. There are two engines supplied by ICM and they do look to be very well detailed, but it is my understanding that there was a different engine in the A-4 as opposed to the A-5 and so one of the two models must be wrong as the engines are the same in both models; I suppose it would take someone with a very high degree of knowledge to pick out which engine it is exactly that is right or wrong. Regardless I am very pleased to see this in this model. Being engines it would pay to add some wiring to the area if you are going to display it. The propellers, cones and radiators are the other new parts offered with this model. The propeller blades look very accurate to me and should I think keep everyone happy. The radiator detail looks a little on the weak side to me, but you canít have everything. The odd part here is that in order to display any of the engine detail surgery will be needed on the nacelles as they have not been designed for display of the area.
ICM has supplied some quite nicely detailed iron bombs for display on this model, they have done a good job of the bomb racks as well. I personally would consider adding the bomb racks, but not the bombs themselves as I like the cleaner look of this type of model; that is the beauty of this hobby you can do whatever you wish.
With this model ICM has provided four finishing options, which are as follows;
Ju 88A-4, 9/KG 30 Sicily, Spring 1943
Ju 88A-4,stabSt/KG 3, Russia Spring 1942
Ju 88A-4, Stab 1/KG 77, Russia Spring 1942
Ju 88A-4, 8/KG 3 Russia Winter 1942
The decals themselves are excellent print wise having a nice gloss finish to them. Carrier film has been kept to a minimum and so you should not encounter problems that way. The colours are strong and cleanly finished.
A good look at this model tells me that ICM are onto a winner with their offering of the Ju 88A-4, Factor in the selling price and you cannot help but be impressed with this offering. The quality of this model is a fine example of how far Eastern European manufacturers have come in a short time. Yes there are aspects I am not a fan of such as the lack of harness detail and a one piece rear wheel assembly, but in most other respects this is a very high quality offering. The low asking price also make it possible to think about adding after market parts for those who may otherwise not be able to justify the cost. I personally am considering harnesses, metal MG barrels and weighted tyres.
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